Malini Srinivasan is a third-generation Bharatanatyam artist and the disciple of world-renowned artist Sri C.V. Chandrasekhar. She began studying Bharatanatyam at a young age with her mother and grandmother. She began learning the Kalakshetra style in 2000 with Smt. Savitri Jagganath Rao. Malini performed her Arangetram (debut) under the guidance of Meena Raman. She lived in Chennai from 1999-2004 to pursue her study of dance and its allied art forms such as Nattuvangam, Carnatic vocal music, Kalaripayattu, Yoga, Sanskrit and Tamil.
A critically-acclaimed soloist, Malini has presented solo Bharatanatyam to various audiences in the U.S., India and Europe. She has also performed with groups including the Padmini Chettur Group, Ragamala, Rajika Puri and Dancers and Thresh.
Malini has choreographed solo and group Bharatanatyam pieces, including Being Becoming, Ode to Love’s Arrows and Tejas-Luminous. She was awarded the Dance in Queens Residency (2009) the LaGuardia Performing Arts Center Residency (2010), and the Queens Council on the Arts Individual Artist Grant (2010, 2012, 2014). Malini is a Lecturer at the Asian & Asian-American Studies Department at SUNY Stony Brook, on the dance faculty of Chhandayan, and a Teaching Artist with City Lore.
What the critics say:
"The solo is gripping in its toggling between dread and desire. Ms. Srinivasan’s sweet face is incredibly expressive. She inhabits her character with such absolute focus as to compel empathy; her experience becomes the viewer’s." - The NY Times, 8/11/14
"Srinivasan’s performance displayed a rigorous commitment to refining her practice, showing the difference between executing, or even mastering, steps and articulating every part of the body like a flame.” Culturebot, 6/17/10
Bharatanatyam is a classical dance form that developed in the south of India, in the area now known as Tamil Nadu. Its roots reach back to the Natya Shastra, the text on ancient Indian drama dated in 2 BC. The Devadasis, or temple servants, were the traditional practitioners of this dance form and handed it down through the ages.
Bharatanatyam's key features are its nrtta (pure movement or technique) and its abhinaya (mime or expression). The nrtta of Bharatanatyam is notable for its complex rhythmic footwork that includes strikes, extensions, jumps and leaps, plus the intricate patterns made by the hands and arms, all stemming from an extended, dynamic torso. The dancer's whole body becomes geometry in motion. The abhinaya of traditional Bharatanatyam revolves around a heroine in a state of anticipation of union with her beloved. As this woman is also a metaphor for the human being waiting for union with the Unseen, it can be interpreted in either a religious or secular framework. The combinations and subtleties of these movements and themes, their close connections with Carnatic music and the vast realm of Indian mythology, give Bharatanatyam a rare union of complexity and accessibility which are key to art of great beauty.
Choreographic works by Malini Srinivasan
April 2013 Third Percussion (11 min) with dancer students from SUNY Stony Brook. A collaboration with Iktus Percussion, Commissioned by Dr. Sunita Mukhi and The Charles B. Wang Center
August 2012 Being Becoming (75 min) with dancers Umesh Venkatesan and Kadhambari Sridhar. Presented at the 2012 NYC International Fringe Festival
September 2011 The Swan (10 min) with dancers Puneet Panda and Umesh Venkatesan, Commissioned by the Anamika Navatman Project
April 2011 Stealing the Queen’s Royal Jelly (12 min) a collaboration with visual artist Reet Das. Commissioned by the Charles B. Wang Center. For 4 dancers and 3 musicians.
February 2011 Music is an Element (8 min) a collaboration with visual artist Yaya Chou. A solo dance piece.
October 2010 Siva's Grief (15 min) solo dance piece with music composed by Ilari Kaila. Created during the LaGuardia Performing Arts Center residency.
September 2009 Tejas-Luminous (75 min) an evening-length production consisting of group and solo contemporary-classical pieces, each piece reflecting a different time of day. Created in part during the Dance in Queens Residency, produced by the Charles B. Wang Center.
March 2008 Pancha Pushpanjali (6 min), Bhamaro (8 min) and Thillana (12 min), solo classical dance pieces for the ‘Ode to Love’s Arrows’ production.
March 2007 Nami Danam (10 min), solo dance piece set to Qawwali music.
March 2005 Mustard Seed (20 min), solo dance piece with music composed by Ilari Kaila for piano, bass and mrdangam.